Airlines start lining up for Africa take-off
and fans have turned their attention from Africa to Brazil, host of the 2014 contest.
But for one group at least, the continent remains in sharp focus: international
the amount of flying capacity to and from Africa by 8.6% over the year to the
end of June compared to 2009, more than any other region except for the Middle
to and from Africa will rise at a compound annual rate of 6.5 per cent, making
it one of the fastest growing regions in the world.
for years, the drive has picked up in intensity in recent months, leading industry
executives to talk of a new "scramble for Africa" as airlines position themselves
for the future.
to pay, for travel by air. Africa’s real gross domestic product was $1,600bn in 2008, having grown 4.9%
per year since 2000 – more than twice as fast as in the 1980s and 1990s.
become a focus of fast-growing Asian economies. Traffic between Asia-Pacific and Africa is forecast to grow at 9%t per year over
the next decade according to some estimates.
regions. In June,
Angola, Equatorial Guinea, and Kenya in the near future.
its connections, adding two new services in west and central Africa and expanding
several more since 2008. The group now has 222 flights a week to 33 destinations
and therefore will have more "staying power".
over the decade while "the rest came from other sectors, including wholesale and
retail, trade and transportation, telecoms and manufacturing".
will be sustained. Over the next 20 years the amount of filled capacity on flights
between Africa and other parts of the world will grow at 5.6 per cent each year,
albeit from a low base.
network planning at Delta Air Lines, the world’s largest airline by revenues.
"GDP is small in absolute terms but it is rapidly expanding as political stability
European carriers have offered direct services for decades, non-stop flights from
North America to Africa have traditionally been limited, and slumped after the
industry recession following the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
a connection between its hub in Atlanta, Georgia, and the tourist destination
of Johannesburg in South Africa, via Dakar, Senegal.
and sub-Saharan Africa where avoiding European connections can save US travellers
network strategy at Continental.
were too far from the US for direct connections, and even then the 777 was too
big to make some routes profitable. With the arrival of Boeing’s much delayed
787, due around the turn of the year, Mr Hart says that many airlines will for
the first time have the right aircraft for the job. Continental plans to connect
the energy capitals of Houston and Lagos with a service starting in November 2011.
Still, considerable obstacles must be overcome.
the continent is fairly well served by airports, lack of taxi-ways and terminal
facilities and "inadequate" air traffic control systems are limiting capacity
according to Iata statistics. While most problems relate to aircraft operated by local airlines, several reports
have blamed Africa’s weak regulatory oversight, which raises wider issues.
time and money to upgrade local infrastructure for their new services. Continental
will help to upgrade the electrical facilities in Lagos airport to receive the
pay off. "The 787 is going to be the pride of our fleet and we are going to put
it into Africa. That speaks volumes of our level of interest," says Continental’s
to June 2009 and RPK for the year to date, up to June 2010 were up +13.2%).